Jay Rockefeller Biography

(Former United States Senator from West Virginia (1985 - 2015))

Birthday: June 18, 1937 (Gemini)

Born In: New York City, New York, United States

Jay Rockefeller is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from West Virginia for five consecutive terms from 1985 to 2015. He had initially moved to Emmons, West Virginia in 1964 for public service as a 'Volunteers in Service to America' (VISTA) worker and was elected to public office as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966. Two years later, he was elected West Virginia Secretary of State. He served as president of West Virginia Wesleyan College for two years in the mid-1970s. He took office as Governor of West Virginia in 1977 and was elected to the Senate in 1984. He became the state's senior U.S. Senator following the death of long-serving Sen. Robert Byrd in June 2010. He decided not to seek reelection in 2014.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: John Davison Rockefeller IV

Age: 86 Years, 86 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Sharon Percy Rockefeller (m. 1967)

father: John D. Rockefeller III

mother: Blanchette Ferry Rockefeller

children: Charles Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller V, Justin Rockefeller, Valerie Rockefeller

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Men

Height: 6'7" (201 cm), 6'7" Males

Ancestry: German American

Notable Alumni: International Christian University

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Harvard University, Yale University, International Christian University

Childhood & Early Life
John Davison 'Jay' Rockefeller IV was born on June 18, 1937 at New York Hospital in Manhattan, New York City, to John Davison Rockefeller III and Blanchette Ferry Hooker. He is a grandson of financier and philanthropist, John Davison Rockefeller Jr., and a great-grandson of business magnet and philanthropist John Davison Rockefeller Sr.
He completed his school graduation from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1955 and spent his junior year at Harvard College. He then studied Japanese at the International Christian University in Tokyo for three years before graduating from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Far Eastern Languages and History in 1961.
After completing education, he began working for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. under President John F. Kennedy. He served as an assistant to Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver and also developed a strong friendship with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
He served as the Operations Director for the Corps' largest overseas program in the Philippines and worked in the United States Department of Far Eastern Affairs for a brief period of time. In 1964-65, under President Lyndon B. Johnson, he continued public service in VISTA, during which time he moved to Emmons, West Virginia.
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After switching to the Democratic Party, Jay Rockefeller was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966, and two years later, to the office of West Virginia Secretary of State. Despite winning the Democratic nomination for governor in 1972, he lost the general election to Republican incumbent Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr.
He served as the president of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1973 to 1975 before being elected Governor of West Virginia for two consecutive terms starting in 1976. West Virginia's coal mines were hit particularly badly during his second tenure as governor due to the national recession, with unemployment rate going to 15-20%.
In 1984, he narrowly defeated businessman, John Raese, to get elected to the United States Senate, but was re-elected in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008 by substantial margins. During his tenure, he also served as the Chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee for three different stints and was the Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation from 2009 to 2015.
As the Democratic Party's finance chairman, he had considered running for the presidency in April 1992, but after consulting with friends and advisers, he decided to strongly endorse Bill Clinton as the Democratic candidate.
In his capacity as the Chairman of the prominent Senate Intelligence Committee, he also commented frequently on the war in Iraq until his retirement in January 2009.
In 1993, he and Ted Kennedy were two principal Senate supporters behind Bill Clinton's health care reform package, and had offered his mansion as the place for the first strategy meeting. The reform was eventually defeated by an alliance between the Business Roundtable and a small-business coalition.
In January 2002, he made an official visit to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, during which he discussed with the leaders of those countries his personal views regarding United States military intentions. In October that year, he was one of 77 Senators to vote for the Iraq Resolution authorizing the Iraq invasion.
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Family & Personal Life
In 1967, Jay Rockefeller married Sharon Lee Percy, the Chief Executive Officer of WETA-TV, the leading PBS station in Washington, D.C., who is a twin daughter of Senator Charles Harting Percy and Jeanne Valerie Dickerson. They have four children together: John Davison 'Jamie' Rockefeller V, Valerie Rockefeller, Charles Rockefeller and Justin Aldrich Rockefeller.
He and his son, Charles, are Trustees of New York's Asia Society, which was established by his father in 1956. He is also a member of the non-profit think-tank Council on Foreign Relations, which his uncle, David Rockefeller, was a chairman of previously.
Jay Rockefeller, who was a Republican before, is related to several Republican Party supporters and former officeholders including David Rockefeller, Winthrop Aldrich Rockefeller, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller and Winthrop Paul Rockefeller.

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